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In U-turn, Shiv Sena leader Shivtare says won’t contest Lok Sabha polls from Baramati

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NewsDrum Desk
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Pune, March 30 (PTI) Shiv Sena leader Vijay Shivtare, who had declared that he would contest the Lok Sabha polls as an independent candidate from Maharashtra’s Baramati constituency, changed his stand on Saturday.

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The leader of the Eknath Shinde-led party said he won’t contest the polls from Baramati in Pune district, which is the political stronghold of NCP founder Sharad Pawar’s family, and instead campaign for the ruling Mahayuti alliance.

Shivtare’s announcement comes amid speculation that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra Pawar could be fielded from there as a candidate of the ruling NCP faction.

Sharad Pawar, who now heads the NCP (SP), has already announced the candidature of his daughter and three-term Baramati MP Supriya Sule from the constituency.

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The earlier announcement by Shivtare had triggered friction among the NCP and Shiv Sena as the parties along with the BJP are a part of the Mahayuti in the state. The discord became more apparent amid Shivtare’s attacks on Ajit Pawar.

Before the announcement, Shivtare met his party workers in Purandar tehsil in Pune district on Saturday.

“I’ve taken the decision to ensure that the next generation doesn’t suffer. I received a call from the OSD (officer on special duty) of Chief Minister Ekanth Shinde and we had a discussion for over two hours,” said Shivtare, a former MLA from Purandar, which comes under the Baramati parliamentary constituency.

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“We talked about water supply to Purandar from Gunjwani dam, a new airport at Purandar and the formation of a new ‘Bazar Samiti’,” he said.

The Sena leader said multiple announcements of various projects concerning Purandar will be made by CM Shinde and Deputy CMs Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis at a rally scheduled in Saswad in Baramati constituency.

Elections to Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha seats will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20. Baramati goes to poll on May 7. Votes will be counted on June 4.

“Over 1.5 lakh votes will now be given to the ‘clock’ symbol (of NCP). An election campaign will be run with full strength. I would like to thank Ajit Dada as he was also present during the meeting (Mumbai),” Shivtare said.

Shivtare had met the CM and deputy CMs in Mumbai early on Thursday. The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) later issued a statement saying that Shivtare discussed various issues regarding Purandar taluka and the hardships faced by the people, and that CM Shinde resolved all issues that he raised during the meeting. PTI COR NR

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